No one deserves a “Dilly Dilly!” toast more than actor John Hoogenakker.
The father of two and DePaul Theatre School alum currently stars opposite John Krasinski as CIA operative Matice in Amazon’s “Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan.” The series is about a former Marine (Krasinski) put in the field after discovering suspicious bank transfers. Hoogenakker will be back for Season 2 and has already begun filming in South America.
Prior to “Jack Ryan,” Hoogenakker conquered the catchiest commercial of the year as the Bud Light “Dilly Dilly” King, leading the call for a celebratory beer. Bigger gigs now keep finding their way to Hoogenakker, but the Jefferson Park resident vows he will never leave Chicago.
You’ve been on “Empire,” “Chicago Fire,” and “Colony.” What was different about starring in “Jack Ryan”?
Definitely the physicality of it. This was uniquely challenging because we did a lot of night shoots and that’s a very different schedule to wrap your brain around. Working on a streaming platform show is a first for me. [Also], with social media as it is these days, I think people feel empowered to reach out to people directly, so I have had a lot of people reaching out and saying that they like it and that’s been cool.
How do you prepare for the role as Matice?
I certainly try to take care of my body, eat well, and exercise. The training we did was with our technical adviser Kevin Kent, a retired SEAL. Having [retired SEALs] there to hang out with was enormously informative.
You studied theater in Chicago. What was that experience like?
Chicago provided space to figure out who I was as a human being. Low temperature breeds character. If you’re in a place where you’re struggling to survive and going after theater and commercials and voiceover, rather than automatically shooting for the stars, well…it’s helpful to be here,
How do you manage being away from your family while filming?
It’s a mixed blessing. On the one hand, you feel blessed and lucky to be doing the work you’ve been asking the universe to do. On the other hand, it comes at the cost of being away from your wife and kids, which is very tough. You’re down there in the middle of the jungle [working] 14-, 16-hour days just beat and missing your family.
As your career grows, what will keep you in the Midwest?
We love our neighborhood. In this day and age, it doesn’t really matter where you’re based. We have wonderful neighbors and a wonderful community. This has been our home since my wife and I were 18 years old. To think about uprooting ourselves and moving to another locale is not something that we’re really into. I think at this point, we’re Chicagoans.